The Secret Fruit Affair with Zespri India @ ITC Gardenia

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a media event at the Lotus Pavilion at the ITC Gardenia. The only brief I was given was that this was a ‘Secret Fruit Affair’ and I should look forward to a treat that shines as bright as the sun. Other than that we were only told that the high tea menu for the evening would be put together by Chef Yogen Datta and his team using the exotic fruit that was shrouded in mystery.

When the event started, we weren’t told what the fruit was, but were instead served three drinks that had the fruit blended into it. Fellow food Connoisseur Monika Manchanda was quick to identify that the mysterious fruit was the kiwi fruit. A lot of us were a bit disappointed, almost like the ending to a terrible murder mystery novel, but it turns out that while the fruit was the kiwi fruit, it wasn’t the regular green kiwi fruit that we’re all used too. Zespri India launched a new variety of their kiwi fruit which is yellow and is popularly known as the Sun Gold Kiwi. 

Kiwi Cocktails
This was a part of a multi-city launch with the first leg in Bangalore. The rest of the evening proceeded with chefs from ITC showcasing Sun Gold Kiwi fruit flavoured dishes from all across the globe. While the chefs were prepping the cooking area, we got to sample some tit-bits such as bruschetta and fried wantons, all which featured the kiwi fruit. We also got to sample both the sun gold and green varieties to understand the subtle differences in flavour. 


Fried Wanton
First up was the Aglio Olio of Vodka marinated Kiwi and Tuna with Spaghetti. This dish was very mild in terms of the flavours it offered. The citrus taste of the kiwi was lost in the slightly more overwhelming flavour of the cherry tomatoes and the tuna. That being said, it was still a nice summer dish and would have gone fabulously with a glass of red wine.

Kiwi and Tuna with Spaghetti

Next up was a take on the Goan classic, the Kiwi Sasam. I’m not a fan of the original dish, and was not a fan of this either. We make a similar dish at home called koottu, which tastes similar and I have a silly childhood dislike for that dish. While everyone else enjoyed the dish thoroughly, I wasn’t excited. 

Kiwi Sasam
The penultimate dish using the Sun Gold Kiwi was the Kiwi Tortilla with a Japanese Twist. The twist in this case was the spicy Japanese sauces that were used on the base of the tortilla as compared to a regular salsa sauce. This was a very fresh dish loaded with tomato, jalapeno, peppers and the Sun Gold Kiwi fruit. While preparing this took a bit of time (many hungry bloggers to feed), this dish was my favourite among the three savoury dishes that were served. This actually brought out the flavour of the kiwi fruit and had a slight kick with the spicy sauce.

Kiwi Tortilla
High tea was closed with a spectacular European-style Kiwi tart that looked spectacular and tasted even better. While I’m consciously trying to cut down the amount of sugar I take, this dish just laid waste to all my effort to stop desserts after a single bite. I could help myself and quite shamelessly threw away the spoon and used my hands to finish of the tart. I left no evidence that it ever existed.

Kiwi Tart
As far as the actual fruit goes, I did enjoy the more citrus taste of the Sun Gold Kiwi raw when compared to its green cousin. It has a flavour that lies somewhere between passion fruit and mango and is a lot more refreshing.  However, I personally feel the green kiwi fruit packs a little more punch when used as a garnish or in cocktails. While the team of chefs at the ITC Gardenia showed us some of the ways in which the fruit can be incorporated into the food we have, I would have to try a few more dishes before I am convinced that the Sun Gold can replace the classic flavour of the green kiwi fruit. I do hope that ITC Gardenia add the Kiwi Tortilla with a Japanese Twist to their menu. I want to have an entire plate to myself without having to reluctantly share. Do go out and try the new Sun Gold Kiwi at your local market.